Guest Post By Will.B
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a virtual 3D Lego-like building game for the computer, where the player is free to make anything they want. It is a great way to encourage creativity and helps to build on team skills and working together to reach personal goals. After the initial purchase of the game, there aren’t any other forms of extra purchases. Some players have made some extraordinary builds that have taken over a year to build. See the screen shot below of ‘Minas Tirith’ a ‘Lord Of The Rings’ build.
Below is a story on Minecraft Leonie Smith was involved in for Channel 10’s “The Project” On 25th May 2015
Is Minecraft safe for kids?
Certainly, if it is used correctly and if you are restricting whom your child is playing with. However, there are many public servers for Minecraft that allow players to talk to complete strangers through a chat. Minecraft does not have any graphic content, but there are monsters such as spiders and zombies. However, the monsters in Minecraft are very cartoon-like.
The Different Versions of Minecraft
There are so far 3 versions of Minecraft for different platforms (gaming devices):
- The PC version is by far the most used and provides a large variety of user-made servers (A place where many people from different places can play together) to play on, meaning that the likelihood of you meeting a complete stranger online is almost certain. However, if you do not wish for your child to be playing on a public server with strangers, they may create their own server and only the people they invite will be allowed on it. (Experts and advanced users only) (Click here for server setup tutorial).
- The mobile version of Minecraft is available for iOS Apple and Android devices, and has a smaller community, but still allows players to play and communicate with one another. There is a huge reduction in the risk associated with this version of the game, but there are fewer features than the PC version.
- The console version of Minecraft is available for Xbox and PlayStation, and is pretty popular, but still has a high risk of meeting a complete stranger. However, making a private server where only your child’s friends can play on it is very easy.
Parental Control Settings
Currently in Minecraft, there are no parental control or privacy settings. However, there is a way to stop your child from being able to play with others.
Minecraft has two main player options:
Singleplayer: Singleplayer is entirely safe, as no one can join the player’s game and no one can contact you through the Minecraft chat.
Multiplayer: This is the mode that you need to be careful of, as players can join any game they want, public or private, and can contact any player, weather they are friends or strangers. Minecraft Modes
LAN: You can also play together with friends in the same location or room, if you are all sharing the same modem via Ethernet or via WiFi. Log into Single Player and the click the “esc” button out to the ‘Game Menu’ screen and click ‘Open To LAN’ and then ‘Start LAN World’ Other’s then can join you if they are playing the same version of Minecraft. They go to ‘Multiplayer’ and the game then searches for local games, they should see an pop up to join your game. For more information, see this link
In Minecraft, there are many different modes. (These are for both Singleplayer and Multiplayer):
- Survival: In survival mode, the player must survive against monsters and hunger. However, the monsters can be turned off by pressing escape, going into settings and turning the difficulty to ‘peaceful’.
- Creative: In creative mode, the player is free to do whatever they want, and monsters cannot attack them.
- Adventure: In adventure mode, the player is not allowed to break any blocks, but can only kill monsters and animals, or be killed by monsters.
Beware of Viruses and Malware
Always make sure that you are downloading Minecraft from the official website (Click here). Otherwise, it is very likely that you will download some sort of virus. Do NOT download the game from any website that is claiming to be giving it away for free or is a ‘torrent’.
Additional content can also be downloaded for Minecraft through ‘mods’, which are small or large changes to the game that are unofficial. There is a small risk that if you download one of these ‘mods’, you will download viruses or malware on your computer. Always make sure that you are pressing the correct download button when downloading a ‘mod’ off the website, as many of those kinds of websites have multiple download buttons for different software in order to be misleading and to try and plant a virus on your computer. ‘Mods’ are a bit risky, because the only way to tell if a ‘mod’ is really okay is if the ‘mod’ is very popular or if the website looks official and secure.
There are many servers in Minecraft that have been set up exclusively for families and children to play on safely. The servers have strict rules on language and behavior, which is guaranteed by the moderators. They are also whitelisted, meaning it is impossible to connect unless your name has been added to the list, preventing random strangers from joining the server. Some of these websites include:
Kids Safe YouTube Minecraft Channels:
Always check before subscribing.
NEW! A site created by two young minecrafters! http://www.cleanminecraftvideos.com where only child friendly Minecraft videos are shown.
Playing on Minecraft Realms, chatting in Scrolls, making purchases, or changing settings on the Mojang account site, is not possible now unless you have parental consent which includes verification via a credit card.
Minecraft Realms is a paid subscription service where you can host a server for friends simply without having to set up I.P addresses, ports and LAN networks.
For more privacy and safety settings have a look at my Step-By-Step Cyber Safety Manual
Leonie Presents Cyber Safety Talks for schools, business, and community groups.